The latest and greatest from Orange Deb's Cheese Making efforts.

Friday, June 05, 2009

String Cheese - Batch #3

It's really pretty fun to make cheese. I used two 1/2 gallon bottles of Farmers Creamery milk. The expiration date was 6/1/9, and the cream had hardened at the top of the bottle. But, it worked the best so far. I put the citric acid in the pot before the milk (how had I missed that instruction before). I had a slight misstep when I used the spoon from the citric acid in the dissolving rennet. But, the minor contamination of each that resulted must not have been too bad to ruin the process of either. After adding the rennet and waiting five minutes, the curd was very soft and I wasn't sure if it would work at all. I started seeing whey "seep" up through the curd a minute or two later. At ten minutes, I cut the curd and saw the most distinct contrast between curds and whey that I have seen so far. I was actually able to pour off the whey as the instructions call for. Then, I ladled soft but clear curds into the cheese-cloth lined collander and started heating the whey up. I put 1 T of salt into the 1/2 gallon or more of whey. As I started folding the curds, the whey just kept coming out. I am still unsure how "hard" to work the cheese. The instructions say "knead" like dough, but I'm afraid of breaking the curd into small pieces. I left the burner on the whey to keep it hot enough and wore rubber gloves to put the curd ball in and out of the water. I could not fold the curd under the hot water as called for due to the heat. I'll need better rubber gloves to do this step properly. But, it worked. The cheese started being stretchable and I was able to keep stretching it until it got very long and thin. Next, I'll have to find some way to stretch it in nice uniform thickness. I put the stretched curd in cold water and added some ice cubes. All total, it was 45 minutes from start to finished cheese. I'm getting faster. Final thoughts: "Old Farmer's Creamery milk is fresher and better for cheese making than generic whole milk brands." "The art of a cheesemaker is not in making cheese, but in making cheese that someone else would want to buy for enough money to cover expenses and a living wage." "It costs me approximately $8 to make one pound of mozzarella cheese and that does not include pay for my making and cleaning time or for the cost of water for the cleaning."

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